Scissors cut art from the Simmental
Intricate tradition full
of proud memories
With millimetre precision, the sharp scissors cut through the paper. Gradually, the soft pencil strokes are turned into clean edges. Again and again the sheet is held up to the light to see more accurately where just that little bit more needs to be snipped off.
Traditions are kept alive when they are actively lived and passed on from generation to generation. In the Simmental, we still dedicate time to the art of paper cutting – and so this tradition is very much alive here.
From China to the Simmental
Originally, the art of paper cutting comes from China, and thus it is as old as the beginnings of paper making. In Switzerland this craft has its roots in the Bernese Oberland. Johann Jakob Hauswirth is considered the father of traditional Swiss paper cutting. In the eighteenth century, he brought paper cutting to Saanenland. His most famous design is the Alpaufzug, reminding us of the traditional way of life in the mountains.
Stories written by life
In the early days, paper cutting portrayed the farmers’ lives
These portraits told the tale of traditional life: good and bad harvests, the birth of a son, or the marriage of a daughter. Often, paper cutting showed a hard and yet very proud life. Today there are portraits of all kinds, for example of a florist or a dentist. For a cut of about 30 centimetres in diameter, it takes 3 hours to map out a portrait of someone’s life and about 40 hours to cut it afterwards. «This is my way of sitting back and relaxing. Others do yoga, I retreat to my studio and work on my cutting», explains Elisabeth Beutler, a renowned Simmental paper-cutting artist.
Creativity, patience and relaxation
You don’t need much: a piece of black paper, good light, a pencil and a rubber
And of course a good pair of paper-cutting scissors – particularly robust and sharp. It is fascinating to see how little material is needed to create something that has so much emotional impact on people.
Simply start cutting
«I couldn’t do that!» or «this work is much too fiddly for me» are statements Elisabeth Beutler often hears. The greatest satisfaction for the paper-cutting artist is to see someone who had such doubts in the beginning surpass themselves and be all the more happy in the end with their successful cutting. Creativity, patience and above all a confident lightness of touch are the secret ingredients for beautiful paper cutting. Cramped and tense cutting is bound to go wrong, so just relax, start cutting and marvel at your own artwork.